Wednesday, December 11, 2019

15 Great Books to Give for Christmas 2019

This post contains affliate links. 

Good morning! If you are still Christmas shopping and looking for a book to add to your gift pile I have 15 great books for everyone on your list. On Christmas morning, after all of the gifts are opened and breakfast is eaten what could be more enjoyable than a few minutes reading a new book?





A visual delight and an inspiration for every bibliophile with a growing home library, this dream-and-drool design book features some of the most jaw-dropping book collections of homeowners around the world.


Interior designer Nina Freudenberger, New Yorker writer Sadie Stein, and Architectural Digest photographer Shade Degges give readers a peek at the private libraries and bookshelves of passionate readers all over the world, including Larry McMurtry, Silvia Whitman of Shakespeare and Co., Gay and Nan Talese, and Emma Straub. Throughout, gorgeous photographs of rooms with rare collections, floor-to-ceiling shelves, and stacks upon stacks of books inspire readers to live better with their own collections.




The leading figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement, William Morris (1834–1896) is one of the best-known and most popular of all British designers. A passionate advocate of craftsmanship over mass production, he designed a huge variety of objects, but it is his spectacular carpet, fabric, and wallpaper patterns that have continued to capture the popular imagination and influence interior designers and the decorative arts. Around six hundred such designs are attributed to Morris, most of which are based on nature, including trees, plants, and flowers.
This beautifully designed, accessibly priced gift book offers a wealth of designs by Morris where flowers are the principal motif. The text traces the origins of Morris’s flower-based designs: his own gardens at the Red House in Kent; sixteenth- and seventeenth-century herbals; illuminated medieval manuscripts; late medieval and Renaissance tapestries; and the range of decorated objects, particularly from the Islamic world, that Morris studied at the South Kensington Museum, now the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Authored by Rowan Bain, senior curator at the William Morris Gallery, and lavishly illustrated with over one hundred color illustrations, William Morris’s Flowers will both inform and delight.




Filled with gorgeous illustrations and artwork from HBO’s hit series, The Art of Game of Thrones is the definitive Game of Thrones art collection.


The official collection of behind the scenes concept art and production design from HBO’s landmark TV show Game of Thrones. Learn how BAFTA and Emmy award-winning production designer Deborah Riley and her team brought to life the iconic locations of Westeros and beyond.




Leonardo by Leonardo is a landmark publication on Leonardo da Vinci, the immortal Renaissance artist universally considered one of the greatest painters of all time.
Published to coincide with Leonardo’s 500th anniversary commemoration in 2019, and written by Martin J. Kemp, one of the world’s leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo by Leonardo presents an astonishing gallery of the master’s 27 existing paintings, as well as the preparatory drawings that formed the basis of his masterpieces. Martin J. Kemp’s narrative is accompanied by extensive written reflections by Leonardo, and is further highlighted by perspectives from his contemporaries.
The legacy of Leonardo da Vinci is a perennial fascination. Not only did he paint what is considered by many to be the world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, but he radically changed every genre of painting - religious and secular portraiture, devotional tableaux, and drawing. Leonardo is the genius that towers over the history of Western art. The large scale and unparalleled quality of reproduction in this volume allows “the strange, living presence of his paintings” to exercise their full power and magnetism on the viewer.
With a lifetime of scholarship and insight, Martin J. Kemp takes us inside the world of each masterwork: the artist’s relationship to his patrons; how and why the works were commissioned; their iconography and symbology; the experimental painting techniques he applied; stories of how the paintings survived and changed owners across the centuries; restoration and condition; and finally, the unsolved puzzles that remain to this day.
The utmost care and state-of-the-art digital capture technology has been applied to the new photography of the artworks presented in this collection. No expense has been spared to reproduce the artworks with the highest fidelity to color, tone, and surface. The quality of imaging, ultra-fine resolution printing, archival paper, and binding has produced a book like no other. The result is a power and intimacy between artist and viewer that takes us inside the artist’s mind, eye and spirit.




To food lovers the world over, a trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to Poilâne. Ina Garten raves about the bread’s “extraordinary quality.” Martha Stewart says the P in Poilâne stands for “perfect.” For the first time, Poilâne provides detailed instructions so bakers can reproduce its unique “hug-sized” sourdough loaves at home, as well as the bakery’s other much-loved breads and pastries. It tells the story of how Apollonia Poilâne, the third-generation baker and owner, took over the global business at age eighteen and steered it into the future as a Harvard University freshman after her parents were killed in a helicopter crash.
Beyond bread, Apollonia includes recipes for pastries such as the bakery’s exquisite but unfussy tarts and butter cookies. In recipes that use bread as an ingredient, she shows how to make the most from a loaf, from crust to crumb. In still other dishes, she explores the world of grains: rice, corn, barley, oats, and millet. From sunup to sundown, Poilâne traces the hours in a baker’s day, blending narrative, recipes, and Apollonia’s philosophy of bread.




THE OFFICIAL BOOK, FULLY ENDORSED BY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
From Her Majesty’s trusted confidant and Dresser Angela Kelly LVO comes a lavishly designed book of never-before-seen photos of The Queen, Her wardrobe and Her jewels and features intimate anecdotes from Angela’s 25-year career working closely with Her Majesty. A truly unique keepsake and collectors’ item to be treasured.  
‘For the nearly seven decades of her reign, Her Majesty The Queen has used clothing to create a powerful visual identity that transcends fashion and has made her perhaps the most readily identifiable person on the planet. Angela Kelly, building on the work of the great designers and milliners who have worked with Her Majesty through the years – including couturiers Sir Norman Hartnell, Sir Hardy Amies, and Ian Thomas, and milliners such as Simone Mirman and Freddy Fox – brings her own imagination to bear on an iconic ‘uniform’ that suggests continuity and tradition, and ensures that the wearer is always the most visible person in a room or a crowd.’–Anna Wintour, Vogue
When Angela Kelly and The Queen are together, laughter echoes through the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Angela has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-five years, initially as Her Majesty’s Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen.
In The Other Side of the Coin, The Queen has personally given Angela her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Whether it’s preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty’s day with a playful joke, Angela’s priority is to serve and support. Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Angela’s own private collection – and charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it’s like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way.
‘The book documents the unique working relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and the woman who has been her Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser for more than two decades: Angela Kelly. It gives a rare insight into the demands of the job of supporting the Monarch, and we gain privileged insight into a successful working relationship, characterized by humor, creativity, hard work, and a mutual commitment to service and duty. Angela is a talented and inspiring woman, who has captured the highlights of her long career with The Queen for us all to share.’ –Samantha Cohen, Assistant Private Secretary to The Queen (2011–2018)



Nothing is harder to do these days than nothing. But in a world where our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity . . . doing nothing may be our most important form of resistance. 

So argues artist and critic Jenny Odell in this field guide to doing nothing (at least as capitalism defines it). Odell sees our attention as the most precious—and overdrawn—resource we have. Once we can start paying a new kind of attention, she writes, we can undertake bolder forms of political action, reimagine humankind’s role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress. 

Far from the simple anti-technology screed, or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent.






In Yoga: A Manual for Life Naomi Annand shows you how to use the ancient practice of yoga to live better in the modern world.

Utilising simple, breath-led movement, this beautiful practice companion teaches you how to wake up feeling energised, calm an anxious mind, sleep better, feel inspired.

Ideal for total beginners to more experienced yogis, this manual includes everything you'll need to live a more balanced, grounded life, from five-minute lifehacks to longer sequences with specific goals in mind. Always accessible, Yoga: A Manual for Lifehas at its centre the principle of authentic self-care.




The ranching communities in the heartland of the great American West may be a long way from New York City, but renowned photographer Anouk Masson Krantz has been drawn back time and time again to explore this largely unfamiliar and overlooked part of the world. In West: The American Cowboy, Anouk revisits this enduring iconic symbol of America's pioneering spirit. Set out in a stunning large-format book, and with heartfelt contributions from Jon Pardi, Red Steagall and others, the pages within inspire with a fresh and contemporary perspective of the American West. Along with the cowboy's ranching traditions comes a life built around the core values and faith that are central to their integrity. Long admired for their strength, relentless work ethic, and humble values, the forgotten American cowboy is alive and well, and has never stood in such stark contrast to the rapidly changing nation that surrounds them.




Bill Cunningham’s photography captured the evolution of style, of trends, and of the everyday, both in New York City and in Paris. But his work also shows that street style is not only about fashion; it’s about the people and the changing culture. 

These photographs—many never before seen, others having originally appeared in The New York Times and elsewhere—move from decade to decade, beginning in the 1970s and continuing until Cunningham’s death in 2016. Here you’ll find Cunningham’s distinctive chronicling of the 1980s transit strike, the rise of 1990s casual Fridays, the sadness that fell over the city following 9/11, Inauguration Day 2009, the onset of selfies, and many other significant moments.

This enduring portfolio is enriched by essays that provide a revealing portrait of Cunningham and a few of his many fascinations and influences, contributed by Cathy Horyn, Tiina Loite, Vanessa Friedman, Ruth La Ferla, Guy Trebay, Penelope Green, Jacob Bernstein, and a much favored subject, Anna Wintour. More than anything, On the Street is a timeless representation of Cunningham’s commitment to capturing the here and now.




An unexpected weeknight meal with a neighbor or a weekend dinner party with fifteen of your closest friends—either way and everywhere in between, having people over is supposed to be fun, not stressful. This abundant collection of all-new recipes—heavy on the easy-to-execute vegetables and versatile grains, paying lots of close attention to crunchy, salty snacks, and with love for all the meats—is for gatherings big and small, any day of the week. 

Alison Roman will give you the food your people want (think DIY martini bar, platters of tomatoes, pots of coconut-braised chicken and chickpeas, pans of lemony turmeric tea cake) plus the tips, sass, and confidence to pull it all off. With Nothing Fancy, any night of the week is worth celebrating.




Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life — one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head. One day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh — a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same.





Down to Earth picks up right where Lauren Liess’s critically acclaimed Habitat left off. While Habitat walked readers through the decorating process step-by-step, Liess’s latest title takes a step beyond the basics and invites readers to incorporate the main components of her familiar design aesthetic: nature, easy living, and approachability. With evocative photos and substantive design advice, Down to Earth focuses on creating a lifestyle that inspires creativity and functionality. 






Are unicorns real? Their popularity and enduring role in human culture certainly is. How can you win a fight against a unicorn? Why do some unicorns have wings? Why are unicorns often pictured with rainbows? Get answers to these questions and more in this fun look at unicorns throughout history. This four-color, fully illustrated book provides everything you always wanted to know about the myths, science, and history that surround the unicorn, a creature that has grown even more popular in the twenty-first century. With its stylish design and fresh, captivating illustrations, The Very Short, Entirely True History of Unicorns will appeal to readers--children and adults alike--who can't get enough of the world's most elusive animal.




Voted Best Book of the Year. 


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.
“Kind,” said the boy.
Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together.
Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.


Books are the gifts that keep on giving and are a favorite of many. Do you have a book that you are gifting this year? If you have a favorite please share. 


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